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Duke Competes at Dick Vitale Clay Court Classic
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/12/2011
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Sophomore Fred Saba
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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BRADENTON, Fla. - Three Blue Devils continued their fall seasons over the weekend with a trip to Bradenton, Florida to compete in the 2011 Dick Vitale/Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic.

Sophomore Fred Saba, who was seeded fifth in the men's singles competition, advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal round before dropping a match. Ranked No. 93 on the ITA's preseason list, Saba notched a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Florida's Michael Alford in Friday morning's first round. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native moved on to the second round Friday afternoon, where he downed Phillip Arndt of Minnesota in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

Saba then met No. 82 Justin Shane of Virginia - the tournament's fourth-seed - in Saturday's quarterfinals. It was Shane that would prevail, however, advancing to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win. Saba now moves to 9-4 overall in fall singles action after advancing to the quarterfinal round at last month's ITA Carolinas Regional.

In other singles action, freshman Raphael Hemmeler took seventh-seeded and 111th-ranked Mousheg Hovhannisya of Pepperdine to three sets in their first-round meeting, but eventually fell, 4-6, 7-6, 6-1. The loss sent Hemmeler to the consolation bracket, where he rebounded with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Alabama rookie Rens van der Vis. In Saturday's consolation quarterfinal, Hemmeler defeated Rifat Biktyakov of Oklahoma State in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. The win earned the Duke freshman a semifinal meeting with Florida's Alford, who would go on to claim a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Hemmeler.  

Meanwhile, senior Luke Marchese suffered a 6-3, 6-3 setback to Oklahoma State's Vlad Bondarenko in Friday's first round. In consolation play, Marchese battled to three sets with Minnesota's Brendan Ruddock, taking the first frame by a score of 6-3. However, Ruddock responded with 6-1, 10-8 victories over the next two sets to move on to the consolation quarterfinals.

Duke was also represented in the men's doubles competition, with Hemmeler and Saba teaming up to take the courts. The Blue Devil duo posted an 8-5 victory over Alabama's van der Vis and Stuart Kenyon in Friday morning's first round of play. Hemmeler and Saba then advanced to the tournament quarterfinals, where they faced the tandem of Phillippe Oudshoorn and Justin Shane of Virginia. Despite some strong play from the Blue Devil pair, Hemmeler and Saba fell, 8-5. The Duke tandem now owns a ledger of 5-3 in fall doubles play.

Duke will play host to a USTA Campus Showdown tournament on Sunday, Nov. 20 in Durham before opening the spring season on Jan. 14-16 at the Duke Invitational.